There has been a lot of hype over ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic‘s new albumMandatory Fun, perhaps largely due to the parodist’s ownTwitter account. Sitting as his 14th record, Yankovic exclusively tellsMusic Times it’s the “best thing” he’s ever done — even behind the successes of the legendary Bad Hair Day (1996) andAlpocalypse (2011).
In speaking with MT, the man who made us all more aware of the Amish culture in “Amish Paradise” is nothing short of a delight, fully excited for both the release of the new record and the eight accompanying music videos that go along with it. Just today, in fact, he released the first video –– a “Happy” parody titled “Tacky.” And while many are equating the 8-day video-drop to the secret album Beyoncé released back in December 2013, the comedian-musician claims it was he who originated it in 2011, when he unveiled twelve-videos on the day of Alpocalypse‘s release.
Weird Al’s career has spanned decades, with each album acting as a “time capsule” to various eras of pop music, as he says. The musician’s pastiches and parodies of famed artists such as Michael Jackson,Coolio, Nirvana and Lady Gaga, to name a mere few, have garnered him a career of amazing accomplishments. And while he faces the unfortunate truth of outlets such as YouTube and Funny or Die allowing others of his ilk to join him in the parodist category, Yankovic’s opinion is one of optimism, calling it “healthy.”
Weird Al recently spoke with Music Times about Mandatory Fun, that now famous TMZ-Iggy Azalea “ambush” and how Beyoncé actually pulled a ‘Weird Al’ when releasing her self-titled album.
Music Times: Mandatory Fun comes out today. There seems to be a lot of hype about it, especially after you dropped the tracklist on Twitter. I assume you must be excited about the release.
“Weird Al” Yankovic: Yeah, it’s something I’m extremely excited about! I’ve actually been really excited about it since I started working on it a couple of years ago, but I had to be very quiet about it up until very recently. So, it’s nice that other people are starting to get excited about it as well.
MT: Your last album was 2011’s Alpocalypse. In those 3 years there’s been so many changes in the music industry and artists on the rise. Because of that, has there been anyone in particular you’ve been particularly excited and hopeful to cover?
AY: I’m happy to say I think I covered pretty much everyone I wanted to here. I’m a fan of everyone I’ve covered on Mandatory Fun. I like to think my records are time capsules of different periods in music, and I think with the parodies done on this album it gives a general sense of what pop music was in this era.
MT: I know TMZ sort of ruined things a bit by leaking the video of you asking Iggy Azalea but it seems she graciously accepted.
AY: [laughs] Yeah, stuff like that has never been documented before. That was interesting. And the [TMZ] headline was “Al Begs Iggy Azalea For Permission” … and I asked politely and respectively. I didn’t realize that was considered begging these days.
MT: I watched the video, and the truth is it’s all for clicks. That’s it. You were incredibly kind. Anyone watching that undoubtedly saw there was no begging involved.
AY: I like how they called it an “ambush.” Coming from TMZ, that’s kind of like the pot calling the kettle black. [laughs]